Anti-Racism_Paper - Liv Rafferty UC 270 Cultural Pluralism...

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Liv Rafferty UC 270 Cultural Pluralism 17 November 2020 An Inexcusable Absence: The Issue of Mass Incarceration as told by Michelle Alexander The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, seeks to explain the current state of racial discrimination in modern day America through the use of the judicial system. The book examines patterns of discrimination against people of color in the United States throughout its history, resulting in the current state of oppressive racial bias, primarily against African Americans. Throughout The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander’s focus on the three main issues of mass incarceration, the problems behind colorblind racism, and the lack of action on the issue of racial discrimination, maintiain the overall impactfulness of the piece as a whole, creating a lasting theory to influence current and future generations of activists. The main issue seen by Alexander in terms of racial discrimination against black people in America today is the issue of mass incarceration, or the influx of people of color in the prison system. Alexander explains that this current state began during the Reagan Administration and the adoption of the War on Drugs, a crackdown on drug use in America. However, Alexander explains that the War on Drugs initiative was implemented before drugs were even a concern of the general public. Instead, by employing policy to overhaul the nation's surprise and unnoticed drug problem, Reagan was “[making] good on his promise to crack down on the racially defined ‘“others’”--the undeserving” (Alexander, 31). This, in turn, resulted in, and continues to cause, higher incarceration rates of black people, especially black men, in America. This meant, more black men being pulled out of society, sometimes for their entire lives, a life sentence sometimes being deemed an appropriate sentence for a first time drug office in the United States (Alexander, 55). Alexander describes that this problem is especially elevated when officers are told they must
meet quotas of how many people they stop and detain within a period of time. Alexander explains that police departments were given any means necessary for accomplishing the goals of the state, she also describes that they were able to increase their budget exponentially by taking the cash, cars, and homes of people suspected of drug use or sales (Alexander, 67). This only added to the ambition of the officers, erasing any ethical mindset from their brains, not allowing them to want to look inwardly to question the system to solve the problem. The issue of mass incarceration does not end after black people are pulled out of society for their first offence, however. Once a person is released from prison, they are less likely to be able to integrate back into society because of the way society treats “criminals.” With a criminal

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